The Droud

by F.

In Ringworld, Larry Niven invented a device that directly stimulates the “pleasure center” of the brain: the “droud.” It was a

fist-sized [thingy] that protruded like a black plastic canker from the crown of [the user’s] head…. It costs almost nothing. An ecstasy peddler can raise the price of the operation, but for what? The user isn’t a wirehead until the wire has been embedded in the pleasure center of his brain. Then the peddler has no hold over him, for the user gets his kicks from house current.

Is this much different than listening to the Cocteau Twins? Not that I can see. What’s the closest feeling to hearing Liz Fraser’s voice wafting over this cotton-candy music? Something like lying in shallow, warm, buoyant saltwater on a beach (Hawaii, say), letting your body go limp and feeling the waves gently push you toward shore.